Some of the most joyful times in life are had over a meal or a snack. Being able to prepare a dinner that others can enjoy is a skill and should be developed at an early age . And any time spent with your loved ones in the kitchen is never wasted and should be cherished.
What happens when you have a child that doesn’t eat? Where does this behaviour come from? How can we develop normal eating patterns?
As an educationalist we have a lot of parents who ask “my son/daughter doesn’t eat” or “my son/daughter doesn’t eat vegetables” If the child didn’t eat he or she would be dead, which is not the case. So what are these non-food eating children eating. It usually comes down to milk, sweet drinks and candy. And there is someone feeding these non-eating children the wrong food (non-food) at the wrong time!!!!!
Some questions to ask about the habits of your family regarding to eating.
How many meals a day do we eat together?
Who is missing from these meals?
As a family do we snack?
What do we snack on and why?
How healthy are our meals?
Is there anything we could do to add to the dining experience?
Everyone is busy and it seems as if we rush the whole day long, stopping only for brief moments to take on fuel to carry on in the rat race. It takes as long to buy a piece of fruit as it does to buy a sugar packed snack. So it is really up to us “WE HAVE CHOICE” as to the quality of our meals and snack we have. It is also our choice as to the quality time we have around eating.
I would like to suggest one meal per week as a must for everyone. Lock it in and make it special. Then if you can most evening meals together and if life and schedule permits add breakfasts. Dads/mothers have to work and children go off to school. Make all these meals an event where everyone has a duty. Planning, Preparing, Partaking and the clean up get everyone involved, even if you are chief storyteller.
Get everyone involved in the process don’t be the secret chef. Children from a very young age can help around the kitchen and dining room. Talk to your children about the food you are going to buy and what you are going to cook. Planning is a very important life skill.
Start with very simple tasks like, scooping ice-cream, keep away from sharp and hot things until the have shown you they are ready and responsible. Plan for your child to succeed, plan also for mistakes and accidents, this planning might be how you are going to handle it emotionally. Remember most things can be laughed off
Mothers and daughters pass on family tradition in the kitchen, there are many young mothers today who wish they learnt more from their mother about cooking.
- Small portions, a child succeeding at eating three tiny plates of food is much better than attempting one larger bowl and not finishing.
- Keep milk and snack for after meals.
- All children get hungry approaching mealtimes, keep them busy and away from snacks.
- Don’t have a free snack policy.
- Buy easy to eat fruits not packaged processed junk
- Plan to make family meals the best time of the day for all.